Evolution of the Brezhnev Doctrine

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Evolution of the Brezhnev Doctrine
The Brezhnev Doctrine commonly refers to the justification given for the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, which formalized the right of Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe. It would also be taken abroad to justify intervention in affairs of non-socialist entities. The policy, first outlined in the September 26, 1968 issue of Pravda, and later reiterated by Leonid Brezhnev in his speech to the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Worker's Party . However, the reality that the USSR had virtual carte blanche to conduct its foreign policy within its sphere of influence dated long before 1968. After the Soviets consolidated their power in Eastern Europe following WWII, they placed a heavy emphasis on creating a united ideological front. To ensure this united front against the perceived advancement of "Western Imperialism" the Soviet Union used an array of tactics. Over time Moscow's ability to control the inner workings of the communist parties within its sphere of influence diminished, and as a result more and more drastic and costly measures had to be taken in order to accomplish this goal, including full-scale invasions of sovereign nations that would ultimately contribute to the downfall of the Soviet Union.

At the closing of WWII, the Cold War began to divide the World into decisively bipolar camps. The United States proclaimed itself the savior of capitalism and through programs like the Marshall Plan, effectively consolidated its power in Western Europe, and even attempted to advancement into Eastern Europe. To counter the United State's "predatory and expansionist course," the Soviet Union formed the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau), as well as the COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. The Cominform was to enforce uniformity within the Communist Parties of Europe. The COMECON was an attempt to counter the Marshall Plan in rebuilding the economies of war ravaged Eastern European countries, and more importantly to bind the economies of these countries to the USSR.

The first hiccup in Stalin's plan to dominate the states of Eastern Europe was the schism between Josef Bronz Tito's Yugoslavia and Stalin's USSR. The origin of the rift between Yugoslavia and the USSR may well lay in the similarities between Stalin and Tito, as well as the fact that in liberation from the Nazis, Yugoslavia required minimal presence of the Red Army. Tito was a chief proponent of the forming of the Cominform bureau in 1947; he was as hard-line in his policies of collectivization, foreign policy and policies of imperialism as Stalin was. In order to impose a united front, all nationalistic feelings of Soviet Satellite States so that allegiance to the Soviet Union was first. Tito's brand of communism diverged from the theory that one country should form the model for all other states. Tito contended that states should use "different roads to communism," and that the centralization of the Soviet state's economy and bureaucracy was a brand of "state capitalism." Because of Yugoslavia's resistance to the USSR's aspirations of conformity, Stalin attempted to replace Tito with Andrija Hebrang. Tito, who had the full authority of his state, party, and most importantly the military and secret police, promptly had Hebrang arrested. In March and April of 1948, Tito formally won the support of the Yugoslav Communist Party to challenge the right of the Soviet party to interfere in Yugoslavia's internal affairs. On June 28, 1948, at the 2nd meeting of the Cominform it was resolved that the YCP was to be formally expelled from the Cominform under the grounds that it had departed from Marxism-Leninism, and that it had exhibited an anti-Soviet attitude. Tito showed his similarity to Stalin labeling the thousands of supporters of the Cominform eviction "Cominformists," and banishing them to a gulag type prison called Goli-otok.

Yugoslavia was to remain a bastion of Nationalist Communism in a...
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